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  1. #21
    Silver Member
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    Mar 2008
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    207

    Default Re: BCS Mower Experiences and Thoughts

    BCSSHOP called it correctly. These brush mowers are to be respected. My hired handyman was driving the Zanon 28" today and one of the blades launched. We cannot find it. Maybe it is circling the Earth. The bolt broke adjacent to the underside weld. The bolts are inserted and then the earthside (head side of the bolt) is welded over with a large weldment mass. The other two blades were not rotating about their bolt axis as they had grass/debris material sufficiently wedged to make them stiff and also appear to have slightly bent bolts. The mower had about 12 hours of hard use when this happened. In looking at the wear on the underside of the disk it was apparent the mower was set probably a wee bit too low as the welds holding the bolts in place were showing abrasion wear. Still, the welds were intact and were not the cause for the blade being thrown. My conclusions are:
    1. This patch of land has scattered hidden rocks and plenty of 12mm (1/2 inch) to 18mm (3/4 inch) saplings leading to many hard hits.
    2. My handyman who has been running (and ruining) the equipment is a hard charging fellow when it comes to clearing out property.
    3. The cutter disk/blades was set too low and from looking at the remaining two blades probably led to many hard hits on rocks and grounded obstructions. A higher setting by 1 to 2" would have accomplished the same overall clearing/mowing quality and likely would have reduced the hard hits by maybe 80%. I blame myself on this height setting mistake.

    By the way, I declared the project essentially finished with the Palladino needing a total overhaul and the Zanon out of action. A heck of a situation. The picture of the disk and missing blade is shown in the link below.

    IMG_1573 | Flickr - Berbagi Foto!

    Bill in NC

  2. #22
    Super Member Scooby074's Avatar
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    Aug 2006
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    5,823
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    Nova Scotia
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    BX 25, ZD 326

    Default Re: BCS Mower Experiences and Thoughts

    Subscribed!!

    I dont have a BCS currently, but it is something ive been wanting for a long time.

    One of my main uses will be brush removal so this is of interest to me. I cant believe there is such an issue with throwing blades.... This might change my interest in the BCS machines completely

  3. #23
    Silver Member
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    Mar 2008
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    207

    Default Re: BCS Mower Experiences and Thoughts

    Jason, like BCSSHOP explained, a flail mower on a BCS is the ticket. Flail mowers are intrinsicly safe, mulch wonderfully and do just about everything one needs to do in dealing with brush, excepting viney stuff like old, mature, tree-climbing patches of Kudzu.

    Bill in NC

  4. #24
    Silver Member
    Join Date
    Feb 2012
    Posts
    110
    Location
    Hector NY
    Tractor
    BCS 605, 740, 850

    Default Re: BCS Mower Experiences and Thoughts

    Bill,

    When I first saw your pictures of the Zanon Brush mower I thought it looked more robust that the BCS brush mower but looking at the damage to the other blades (fairly minimal in my opinion) I don't think the mower should have thrown a blade. The blades can swing 360 degrees and are quite short so an impact with rocks should have made a lot of noise but not broken. The fact than the other bolts appear to be bent I'd say that mower is not worth having. I'd return it since it is so new and stick with a flail mower. Then you'll sleep better at night.

    When I was first shown the DelMorino 26" mower (sold by BCS) it was on a farm in Pennsylvania where I saw it mow quite well. I suggested to the person considering adding it to the BCS line that maybe he should try driving it over the pile of broken cinder blocks sitting next to the shop. His comment was that "That will destroy it!". I wish he'd done that so we would have learned how it breaks. BCS has now set the minimum cutting height at about 3 1/2" and use a similar disk mount for the blades but their bolts are replaceable. New bolts, washers and locking nuts come with the replacement blades.

    Many years ago TroyBilt (don't laugh) offered up a demonstration of their then new Super Tomahawk Chipper/Shredder in very abusive conditions. The dropped 4x4's in the shredding chamber, shovels of crushed rock, a bucket of nails, bricks, broken concrete blocks, electrical conduit, reinforcement bars and heavy hand pruners all in the shredding chamber. Only the rebar stopped the machine but nothing broke. I still own two of their shredders. I now realize that the flail mower is a shredder on wheels set close to the ground.

    Thank you Bill for sharing the experience with the Zanon.

  5. #25
    Super Member Scooby074's Avatar
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    Aug 2006
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    5,823
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    Nova Scotia
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    BX 25, ZD 326

    Default Re: BCS Mower Experiences and Thoughts

    Hi Bill. I know what your saying about the flails... but a rotary is better for the alders and brush i got to mow. If i had a ton of horsepower , then yes, a flail could do the same job.

    What i currently do is rent a Billygoat or DR rotary (rather than rent annually i intended on buying a BCS). Ive never had issues with throwing blades. The absolute worst thing that could happen with a rotary is throwing blades. No way a machine should be built that weak that it will throw a blade, breaking belts, transmissions and engines are OK, but those blades better stay where you want them!!!!

    I have a BX25 this year, so i'm not even sure I'll need a walk behind if I get a bush hog for the BX. There may be a few areas I cant get into with the tractor, but i can do them manually if its not worth renting a machine.

  6. #26
    New Member
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    Apr 2012
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    19
    Location
    Fort Worth, TX
    Tractor
    none

    Default Re: BCS Mower Experiences and Thoughts

    Quote Originally Posted by wstr75 View Post
    The other two blades were not rotating about their bolt axis as they had grass/debris material sufficiently wedged to make them stiff and also appear to have slightly bent bolts.

    Bill in NC
    I suspect this outlines the failure process. First, the blades stop rotating due to debris wedging itself under the blades. As the blades get progressively pounded, the wedge forces the blade up, bending the bolt. This weakens the bolt. Finally, the blade hits something stationary and the bolt pops off. If you find the blade, I'd predict the blade's attachment hole would be slightly bent, but relatively undamaged.

    JoeBobBill

  7. #27
    Silver Member
    Join Date
    Mar 2008
    Posts
    207

    Default Re: BCS Mower Experiences and Thoughts

    JBB,
    You may have this figured out. Stopping every hour of operation to clear debris and rotate the blades 360 degrees on the bolt may be a suggested maintenance step.
    Last edited by wstr75; 04-14-2012 at 07:14 PM.

  8. #28
    Platinum Member farmerboybill's Avatar
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    Mar 2008
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    590
    Location
    Southwestern Wisconsin
    Tractor
    BCS 850 diesel and 735 diesel

    Default Re: BCS Mower Experiences and Thoughts

    Quote Originally Posted by BCSSHOP View Post
    Bill,

    When I first saw your pictures of the Zanon Brush mower I thought it looked more robust that the BCS brush mower but looking at the damage to the other blades (fairly minimal in my opinion) I don't think the mower should have thrown a blade. The blades can swing 360 degrees and are quite short so an impact with rocks should have made a lot of noise but not broken. The fact than the other bolts appear to be bent I'd say that mower is not worth having. I'd return it since it is so new and stick with a flail mower. Then you'll sleep better at night.

    When I was first shown the DelMorino 26" mower (sold by BCS) it was on a farm in Pennsylvania where I saw it mow quite well. I suggested to the person considering adding it to the BCS line that maybe he should try driving it over the pile of broken cinder blocks sitting next to the shop. His comment was that "That will destroy it!". I wish he'd done that so we would have learned how it breaks. BCS has now set the minimum cutting height at about 3 1/2" and use a similar disk mount for the blades but their bolts are replaceable. New bolts, washers and locking nuts come with the replacement blades.

    Many years ago TroyBilt (don't laugh) offered up a demonstration of their then new Super Tomahawk Chipper/Shredder in very abusive conditions. The dropped 4x4's in the shredding chamber, shovels of crushed rock, a bucket of nails, bricks, broken concrete blocks, electrical conduit, reinforcement bars and heavy hand pruners all in the shredding chamber. Only the rebar stopped the machine but nothing broke. I still own two of their shredders. I now realize that the flail mower is a shredder on wheels set close to the ground.

    Thank you Bill for sharing the experience with the Zanon.
    You heard it here first, folks. John recommends owners of the Bladerunner to run it over a pile of broken cinder blocks. If it breaks, it isn't worth owning and you should return it to the dealer. I'm sure John will take in any Bladerunner on Warranty that your local dealer won't take. While you're at it, take your car into the local lumberyard and put enough lumber on the roof to build a 20 by 40 deck. If it wasn't built strong enough to take this, it isn't worth owning.

    Seriously, I think you got a bad hired handyman, Bill. Nothing is foolproof to a dedicated fool. He HAD to have heard the damage he was causing to this mower while he was running it. If he was truly handy, he could have set it higher without you telling him. He had already wrecked your flail mower and was on his way to wrecking your 853. I wouldn't let him borrow your bicycle, let alone run powered equipment. You are a good, responsible owner and this would NOT have happened to you. Even with grass making the blade stiff, it would still swing away from an immoveable object.

    I'm amazed that I'm the voice in the wilderness on this subject. Just about EVERY equipment manufacturer makes rotary rough-cut mowers. I have a John Deere MX10 mower and a 507 Gyramower for the 3 point on my tractors. I never mow lower than 4 inches in the pastures with either of them. In rough terrain, no mower should be set below 4 inches - I don't care if it's a flail mower, rotary mower, or sickle mower. You're just asking for trouble if you don't know whats hidden under the grass. After you get a feel for the area, you can make a second pass lower if you wish, but why?

    I say again - If rotary rough-cut mower were as dangerous as stated, they would NOT be built. On top of rotary rough-cut mowers, millions of acres of hay in this country is now cut with disc mower/conditioners. Sickle mower/conditioners are obsolete and very few are even produced anymore. That's a lot of high RPM mower blades flying around every single day and very few accidents.

    Flail mowers are great. They do a bang-up job in many mowing applications, BUT they cost half again or twice as much as a rotary mower. Sure, I'd love to sell only $1600 Berta mowers and John obviously loves to sell the lighter duty $2000 Bladerunners, but a responsible owner can easily and safely use $1000 or $900 Del Morino or Zanon mowers for many applications.
    Last edited by farmerboybill; 04-15-2012 at 10:28 AM.
    BCS 850 w/ Kohler Diesel, 30" tiller, Berta double rotary plow, 18 inch combined ridger, Caravaggi BIO90 chipper, Bellon 32"rough cut mower, Del Morino 26 inch rough cut mower, trencher, 2 way plow, ridger,

    Deere 60, 2040, 3020, 4010, 4430, and all the implements to work 'em

  9. #29
    Silver Member
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    Mar 2008
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    207

    Default Re: BCS Mower Experiences and Thoughts

    Bill, I think everyone has right answers on this subject. Yes, brush mowers are safe if you are responsible and cutting at a proper height and taking care not to strike rocks and other large, high-mass objects. But if one is mowing a high brushy height area and encounters an unforeseen object like a big piece of metal, the blade inertia is going somewhere and it may not be nice if the object does not move and the blade does not move, either.

    From this point on, if I am mowing an unknown area with high brushy quotient, my weapon of choice will be the sickle bar mower. After going through the area with the sickle bar, the big objects will be uncovered and then a brush or flail mower can go back over the area to do a more complete shredding and cutting job.
    Bill in NC

  10. #30
    Super Member Scooby074's Avatar
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    BX 25, ZD 326

    Default Re: BCS Mower Experiences and Thoughts

    The thing is a brush mower is GOING to find those hidden rocks and metal... Its the nature of the job. It HAS to be strong enough to withstand repeated run ins with that type of material.

    I cant count the number of times ive hit large rocks with the rental machines i mentioned. And Im sure that every other renter has done the same!! In my experience they are no worse for wear.

    Having to buy and use 2 or 3 attachments to do the job of a properly designed rotary defeats any efficiency of the BCS type machines considering I can do the job with a single machine.

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